Plant Answers  >  Citrus – Changsat: 'Orange Frost'('Flourishing') and 'Bumper' – Growing Patio and Dooryard Citrus

Citrus Selection Still Good
San Antonio Life News
October 20, 2012
Calvin Finch Ph.D.
Horticulturist and Director
Texas A&M Water Conservation and Technology Center

Now is the ideal time to plant trees and shrubs. The selection of most fruit trees at nurseries is limited in the fall, but citrus is the exception. Citrus is easy to grow, makes a beautiful plant and can be very productive. Some are more cold hardy than others are, but a gardener should always be ready to protect their citrus from extreme cold weather.

The most popular citrus tree is the Satsuma mandarin. There are many selections and all produce easy-to-peel, mostly seedless fruits that ripen in October and November.

There are two new selections that are available on the market in limited numbers this fall—“Orange Frost” and “Bumper.” They are actually Satsuma Mandarin/Changsha tangerine crosses. They both retain the large fruit size, seedless and easy-to-peel characteristics of the parent Satsuma and they have several desirable characteristics from the Changsha as well.

The “Orange Frost” has inherited the superior cold tolerance of the Changsha tangerine. Satsuma has good cold tolerance (25-26 degrees Fahrenheit) to begin with, but “Orange Frost” may have another 4-5 degrees Fahrenheit according to Dr. Jerry Parsons, a member of the Extension Service team that tested the new selection. “Orange Frost” reportedly has a more acidic taste than the normal Satsuma. It is the selection for gardeners that feel Satsuma has a bland flavor.

“Bumper” has the tang from the Changsha, and it is also more precocious and productive than the other Satsuma selections. That may be hard to believe for gardeners that already brag on the production from the older selections. That’s what the research results show, however. The research also shows that “Bumper” has normal Satsuma cold tolerance.

There is limited distribution of the two new selections, so you may have to call around to find them. In fact, calling around to your favorite nurseries is a good way to find out what citrus varieties are available at the various nurseries.

Citrus planted in containers will only grow to about 4 feet tall. Use them as decoration on your patio. It is great to go out on the patio and harvest a citrus for a guest’s drink in the fall and to experience the citrus perfume over the long bloom period in the later winter and spring.

Plant the larger citrus, such as oranges, grapefruit, Changsha tangerine and Satsuma, in full sun in the ground in South central and South Texas. They are not fussy about soil and are drought tolerant, but even the hardiest can be defoliated by extreme cold weather. The best location for planting is on the south side of the house where they are relatively sheltered.

Calamondin, kumquats, Changsha tangerine and the “Orange Frost” Satsuma are the most cold tolerant. Satsuma is also tolerant, followed by navel oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes.

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